Vivian Girls
Vivian Girls
(In the Red)


When the Vivian Girls' self-titled debut was originally released this spring by minor indie Mauled by Tigers, its 500-copy limited edition sold out in just 10 days (it's now seeing wider release via In the Red). The album itself is only 22 minutes long, with the longest of its 10 tracks clocking in at just over three and a half minutes. Clearly, the Vivian Girls know a thing or two about leaving fans wanting more.

But brevity is only half of the equation, and the Vivian Girls keep things short and sweet, casually summoning up shades ("Spectors," even, although Pitchfork was first to the punch with that line) of '60s girl groups as well as C86-style indie pop. Fittingly, for a band whose name comes from art brut artist Henry Darger, the Vivian Girls also owe a debt to that most revered of outsider girl groups, the Shaggs.

"All the Time" opens the album with a giddy rush, just a syllable and a half escaping from the singer's lips before she's swept up in a gallop of guitar and drums that only let up for the song's cascading, three-note refrain. "Such a Joke" bounces vocal harmonies and guitars off funhouse walls, surrounding the song's solid rhythmic core with an intangible, refracted chorus. "Wild Eyes" is, like many of these songs, little more than a single snappy melody and a chorus built of its title, but it is as beguiling as anything here. "Going Insane" is a perfectly pleasant reel around a Heavenly fountain. The longest track here, and the closest to a proper pop song, is lead single "Tell the World," which begins as semisinister zombie prom drone but builds to an escape velocity crescendo. And that's only the first 10 minutes.

But I've run out of room, damn it. Vivian Girls just squeeze more outstanding, dreamy pop into 20 minutes than most bands could in hours. recommended